60-second interview with Christine Van Cauwenberghe

Christine Van Cauwenberghe, 5/2/2019

Christine Van Cauwenberghe TEP is Vice-President, Tax and Estate Planning at IG Private Wealth Management, in Winnipeg, Canada.

What does your firm do?

IG Private Wealth Management provides financial, tax and estate planning to high-net-worth clients across Canada. My team of estate lawyers and tax accountants provide support to our financial planners and clients.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP provides excellent educational opportunities for professionals in the high-net-worth area, most importantly from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Some advisors don't seem to understand the importance of lawyers, accountants and financial advisors working together, but STEP opens up much-needed lines of communication.

You were recently given a Founder's Award. What does this mean to you?

I was extremely honoured to have received a Founder’s Award, since STEP is the most important professional body I belong to. I have received so much from the Society and was grateful to be recognised for trying to give something back.

How and why did you get involved with STEP?

When I was first starting out in my law practice, I found that STEP meetings were the best way to find the technical information I was looking for, while at the same time meet different types of practitioners who might either refer work to me, or take on work from my clients who were looking for skilled advisors. It became my professional organisation of choice, and the next logical step to stay involved was volunteering.

What benefits has it brought you?

In addition to learning a lot through my involvement with the Education Committee, the National Conference Committee and our national magazine, STEP Inside, I have also made many wonderful friendships over the years. I look forward to STEP conferences as a way to learn and re-connect.

What do you most like about your job?

I like dealing with advisors and clients on a personal basis, and am constantly looking for ways to provide better advice to clients and their families. I’m always learning new things, which is great because it keeps things interesting!

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

I do a lot of estate planning, and I think that many clients don’t realise how destructive a poorly thought-out estate plan can be. I have seen many families torn apart by bad estate plans, usually as a result of bad advice. If I can help to keep a family together, that’s worthwhile.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

Try to find a job that gives you a connection to real people, as opposed to being a cog in a wheel. Find something you’re passionate about, and try and become proficient at it - think long-term.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

I think that as family structures continue to become more and more complex, particularly with many families being ‘blended’ with children from different parents, it will become more important to ensure that estate plans are structured to meet the needs of the various beneficiaries. In many cases, insurance is the most practical solution, so I see growth potential there.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

I usually use LinkedIn because I find the content most relevant to what I do. I am connected to lots of people who post great technical content on LinkedIn, and I find it the easiest way to keep up to date with developments that I might not hear about otherwise.

Christine Van Cauwenberghe TEP is Vice-President, Tax and Estate Planning at IG Private Wealth Management, in Winnipeg. Christine is currently treasurer of STEP Canada, and serves on its board. She was Co-Chair of STEP National Conference from 2014-18, Chair of the STEP Inside Editorial Committee from 2013-17, Chair of STEP Winnipeg from 2013-15 and Chair of its Programming Committee, from 2008-13. Christine was also Chair of the STEP Canada Education Committee from 2007-13.